Deerbolt Prison

Deerbolt is a prison and young offender institution near Barnard Castle, County Durham for men aged 18 to 24.

Help us to improve this page. Give us your feedback in this 2-minute survey.

Book and plan your visit to Deerbolt

Prison social visits are temporarily suspended at Deerbolt following national lockdown. We will update here as soon as this changes. There may be the opportunity for visits under exceptional compassionate reasons which should be agreed in advance with the prison prior to travel.

Find out more about visiting someone in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also follow @HMPPS on Twitter and read a rolling update page.

There are a number of other ways to contact someone in prison if you are unable to visit them. You can:

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003.

Keep in touch with someone at Deerbolt

There are several ways you can keep in touch with a resident during their time at Deerbolt.

Secure video calls

Secure video calling is available at this prison. Family and friends need to download the purple visits app, create an account, register all visitors, and add the prisoner to their contact list.

Read more about how it works

Phone calls

Residents do not have phones in their rooms so they will always have to call you. They have to buy phone credits to do this. They usually call in the evenings during the week and in the daytime at weekends.

They can phone anyone named on their list of friends and family. This list is checked by security when they first arrive so it may take a few days before they are able to call.

Officers may listen to phone calls as a way of preventing crime and helping keep people safe.


You can send emails to someone in Deerbolt using the Email a Prisoner service.

You might also be able to attach photos that will be printed out and given to the resident.


You can write at any time.

Include the person’s name and prisoner number on the envelope.

If you do not know their prisoner number, contact Deerbolt.

All post, apart from legal letters, will be opened and checked by officers.

Send money and gifts

You can use the free and fast online service to send money to someone in prison.

You can also send:

  • postal orders
  • cheques
  • cash

Postal orders and cheques should be made payable to The Governor and include the resident’s name and prisoner number on the back.

Gifts and parcels

You cannot hand over items for the resident during a visit. You may leave books with staff in the visitors centre, who will check them and pass them on to the resident.

You can only send in underwear, socks and books. No other items are allowed. The parcel must be clearly labelled with what’s inside.

Make sure to include the person’s name and prisoner number on the parcel.

All parcels will be opened and checked by officers.

People in Deerbolt are given a list of approved items that they can buy from a catalogue.

Life at Deerbolt

Deerbolt is committed to providing a safe and educational environment where men can learn new skills to help them on release.

Security and safeguarding

Every person at Deerbolt has a right to feel safe. The staff are responsible for their safeguarding and welfare at all times.

All safeguarding processes are overseen by County Durham Safeguarding Adults Inter-Agency Partnership.

Arrival and first night

When a resident first arrives at Deerbolt, they will be able to contact a family member by phone. This could be quite late in the evening, depending on the time they arrive.

They will be able to have a shower and speak to someone who will check how they’re feeling and ask about any immediate health and wellbeing needs.


Each person who arrives at Deerbolt will at first be located in the induction unit (I wing). Residents will get:

  • a 2nd class letter to write home
  • an information booklet
  • an information booklet for their family and friends
  • the canteen price list, from which they will be able to order items

Residents get an induction that lasts about 3 days or longer, if needed. They will meet professionals who will help them with:

  • health and wellbeing, including mental and sexual health
  • any substance misuse issues, including drugs and alcohol
  • personal development in custody and on release, including skills, education and training
  • other support (sometimes called ‘interventions’), such as managing difficult emotions

Everyone also finds out about the rules, fire safety, and how things like calls and visits work.


Around 500 young men live at Deerbolt mostly in single rooms. There are 10 wings, including K wing which is a small unit holding 16 men.

There is a gym, astroturf pitch and sports field.

There is also a health centre and multi-faith chaplaincy team.

Education and work

Deerbolt’s education department is run by NOVUS and offers both full-time and part-time courses in a variety of subjects.

Students have the opportunity to improve their basic skills, learn new skills and gain qualifications, to help them gain future employment.

Education courses include:

  • literacy and numeracy
  • IT
  • health and safety
  • Football Association refereeing
  • food hygiene
  • parenting
  • employability

Vocational training courses and work opportunities include:

  • painting and decorating
  • joinery
  • recycling
  • gardening
  • catering
  • laundry
  • printing and design
  • waste management
  • multi-skills
  • bike repairs
  • interior fittings

Other activities available are:

  • distance learning
  • peer tutoring, including literacy
  • working in the education department and library

Career advice is offered by Changing Lives and reading support from the Shannon Trust.

Deerbolt offers accredited offending behaviour courses along with other psychological services.

Deerbolt works with partners such as Jobcentre Plus and the National Careers Service to help residents work towards finding employment or related training after release.

Accommodation and financial advice is provided by Shelter. Advisers will also try to link residents with community-based agencies to help ensure that support continues after release.

Temporary release

Residents are not usually released on temporary licence, but the opportunity to move to a prison that offers release on temporary licence (ROTL) is available.

Organisations Deerbolt works with

NEPACS supports anybody affected by imprisonment in the north east. Deerbolt also works with Darlington County Council and Greggs Foundation.

Support for family and friends

Find out about advice and helplines for family and friends.

Support at Deerbolt

The visitors centre at Deerbolt is run by Nepacs who can offer help and support.

Contact Nepacs on: 01833 633 272
Find out about call charges

Problems and complaints

If you have a problem email:

If you cannot resolve the problem directly, you can make a complaint to HM Prison and Probation Service.

HM Prison and Probation Service publishes action plans for Deerbolt in response to independent inspections.

Contact Deerbolt

Governor: Andrew Hudson

Telephone (24 hours): 01833 633 200
Fax: 01833 633 201
Find out about call charges

Follow Deerbolt on Twitter


HMP/YOI Deerbolt
Bowes Road
Barnard Castle
County Durham
DL12 9BG

See map

Safer custody hotline

If you have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a man in Deerbolt, call the safer custody hotline. Leave your name, telephone number, the resident’s name and a short message. This line is regularly checked and someone will call you back.

Telephone: 01833 633 212
Find out about call charges

In an emergency, contact the switchboard.

Help us to improve this page. Give us your feedback in this 2-minute survey.

Published 24 March 2020
Last updated 21 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated visit info

  2. Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

  3. Updated visiting information in line with new local restriction tiers.

  4. Updated visiting information in line with new national restrictions in England.

  5. Updated information about visiting facilities and family days. Added information about how to book video calls with residents.

  6. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  7. Updated visiting information in line with coronavirus restrictions.

  8. Updated information to include confirmation of secure video calls being available at this prison.

  9. added survey link

  10. Visit information update

  11. First published.